Catalan Literature and Tapas: Katherine Silver and Peter Bush Discuss Josep Pla
B44 Catalan Bistro | 44 Belden Place | San Francisco, CA
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Join renowned translators Peter Bush and Katherine Silver in a conversation about the work of Josep Pla, “the most celebrated Catalan writer of his generation”. Enjoy free tantalizing tapas and famous paellas at San Francisco’s B44 Catalan Bistro.
Bush’s translation of Pla’s masterpiece The Gray Notebook recently won the Ramon Llull award. The New York Times called The Gray Notebook “a vibrant testimony to the power of words…” Bush’s translation of Life Embitters will be released in April 2015. He has also translated dozens of books from Catalan, Spanish, and Portuguese, including work by Quim Monzo and Juan Carlos Onetti.
Audio Table of Contents
05:30 Katherine Silver shares what will be discussed: a look at Catalan Literature, Josep Pla’s role in that, Peter’s translation of the non-fiction work, The Grey Notebook, and audience questions
06:10 Peter Bush provides historical background on Catalonia
08:46 Recuperation of Catalan as a literary language (1830-1860)
10:07 Peter begins discussing Josep Pla’s life
12:03 How Josep begins writing
14:42 Katherine asks Peter about the narrative voice in The Grey Notebook
16:10 Peter on Pla’s thinking as a writer: “I want to write something that reflects the movement of life”
19:20 Peter discusses how Catalonians benefitted during World War I and how Pla places those experiences in his work
22:46 Peter reads and discusses several entries in The Grey Notebook about translation, language and life in Catalonia
26:30 Catalan as a minority language and discovering Catalonian writers that are the literary equivalent of Dali, Picasso, Miró
29:00 How Peter ended up translating Pla
30:25 Critical mass of Catalonian literature
31:17 Peter reads a food related passage from The Grey Notebook
34:00 Katherine discusses the craft of Peter’s translation
34:52 Audience Questions
34:54: Q/A I was wondering if he [Pla] knew George Orwell?
*Follow-up: Katherine –I wonder if he knew Joseph Roth?
38:55 Q/A To what extent can you consider Catalan Literature, as a whole, part of the Spanish Literary canon, especially the 20th century when Pla wrote?
41:16 Q/A I was wondering if you knew anything about the tax situation in Andorra?
41:13 Q/A Pla seems to have said that the Catalan language was a tragedy, could you explain that further?
46:05 Q/A How often is Catalan translated into other languages, for instance, Spanish?
48:25 Q/A Is there a similar resurgence with French Catalan writers?
50:05 Q/A Considering how there isn’t much of a tradition of passing on literary traditions in Catalan, how often do you think (directly or indirectly) you see some of the brazenness in Josep Pla’s writing influencing other writers? Do you think that part of the reason Catalan works aren’t translated as often is because Catalonians’ take pride in their language and think it might get muddled through translation?
58:08 Q/A I’m curious, you mentioned the political position that Pla had and this position on the Catalan language, both of which could cause some discomfort for Catalan readers. You refer to it [The Grey Notebook] as a classic, but how do people over there actually feel about it and is there discomfort about him as a figure generally or is that water under the bridge because he wrote in Catalan?
1:03:32 Q/A Did Josep Pla have a different point of view on his work when he was older? Since he wrote The Grey Notebook when he was young and then didn’t edit it until he was older and had more life experience.